Matt Ryan to help Make-A-Wish Foundation

Matt Ryan (left) makes a wish come true for Matthew Higgins, 16, of Palmdale, Calif. (right) at Wednesday's practice. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/

Matt Ryan (left) makes a wish come true for Matthew Higgins, 16, of Palmdale, Calif. (right) at Wednesday's practice. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/

FLOWERY BRANCH –  Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is set to meet a youth today before practice in order to help fulfill a wish.

Matthew Higgins, 16, of Palmdale, Calif., is scheduled to meet Ryan at 9:30 a.m. before the team hits the field for their 9:45 a.m. practice.

Matthew is currently battling acute lymphatic leukemia and his wish is being hosted by the local Georgia & Alabama chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He will also attend Thursday’s game against New England.

Coach Mike Smith made Higgins the assistant quarterbacks coach for the day and he got to break down the huddle at the end of practice.

“I thought the quarterbacks played very well under his tutelage,” Smith said.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, founded in 1980, grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. It’s the largest wish-granting charity in the world.


Wednesday, August 18 — Practice 9:45 – 10:30 a.m. (closed to public).

Thursday, August 19 — Preseason Week 2 vs. New England 8 p.m.

Friday, August 20 — No Practice.

Saturday, August 21 — 9:30 a.m. – 11:35 a.m. (closed to the public); 3:45 p.m. – 5:25 p.m. (closed to the public).

Sunday, August 22 — 9:35 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (closed to the public)

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8 comments Add your comment

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]


August 18th, 2010
7:01 am

Is this a different Mathew from last year`s Make a Wish.?.This organization just keeps on getting more classy year to year.


August 18th, 2010
7:02 am

Wait I just rememered that young man passed away.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 18th, 2010
11:10 am

This is Matthew Higgins from the Los Angeles area. He’s a big Falcons fan.


August 18th, 2010
11:28 am

Great story…you’re in our thoughts & prayers Matthew…..

Jose G.

August 18th, 2010
2:03 pm

More of these stories need to be printed. These poor kids suffer so much and if their only request is to spend some time with their person. Just brings a tear to your eyes. For one day they can at least forget about their health concerns.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Atlanta Falcons, Gabriel Ruppert, Sara, D. Orlando Ledbetter, D. Orlando Ledbetter and others. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: QB Matt Ryan makes Matthew Higgins, 16, of Palmdale, CA wish come true through Make-A-Wish Foundation. [...]

Brent R

August 19th, 2010
6:11 pm

Outstanding Matt,Falcons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!